The Aeneid of Virgil (I-VI)

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The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil in the 1st century BC (between 29 and 19 BC) that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is written in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas' wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half treats the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad; Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas' wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or nationalist epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty. (From
Curriculet Details
42 Questions
45 Annotations
6 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for 11th and 12th grade students contains interactive videos exploring literary terms and concepts utilized in the text and explaining important historical allusions, as well as annotations describing the use of rhetoric for persuasive purposes, the characteristics of an epic, and the influence of Virgil’s contemporaries on the text. Students will explore the themes of the role of fate and devotion to one’s family and country. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Book I

Throughout "The Aeneid," Virgil constructs his story using many traditional elements of an epic, or long narrative poem about the adventures of a hero. Here, Virgil invokes a Muse- a goddess of the arts- to inspire him and allow him to tell the story beautifully and well. Keep an eye out for other traditional elements of an epic as you continue to read. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is not a reason why Juno dislikes Aeneas? 
You may find the site below, which contains information about the Roman gods and their realms, to be helpful. (This annotation contains a link)
The goddess Juno is characterized as all of the following except 
Aeneas is an epic hero, meaning that he is a larger-than-life figure who embodies the values of his culture. Through examining his actions, readers can infer what characteristics are most important to the ancient Roman peoples. What values has Aeneas displayed so far? 
It is clear that Juno dislikes Aeneas. How does her husband, Jupiter, feel? 
This passage does little to advance the plot of The Aeneid. Thinking of the piece's historical context, provide one reason why Virgil might have included this passage about Caesar Augustus' lineage. 
"The Aeneid" may be fiction, but it is deeply rooted in history as well. During the time Virgil was writing "The Aeneid," Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome. In this passage, chief god Jupiter links Caesar Augustus' lineage to Aeneas, the eventual founder of Rome. (This annotation contains an image)
The purple line on the map below shows Aeneas' journey from Rome to Carthage and his eventual continuance to Rome. Carthage is located in modern day Tunisia, but during Virgil's time this region was considered part of Libya. (This annotation contains an image)
Using two specific examples, what does The Aeneid teach about the relationships between humans and the gods in Ancient Roman culture? 
In the original translation of "The Aeneid," Aeneas' dutiful quality was referred to as "pietas." Pietas is a nearly religious sense of devotion and duty to one's country, countrymen, and gods. Keep an eye out for how Aeneas demonstrates this trait throughout the text; pietas will become an important theme as the story unfolds. 
Which of the following best describes Dido's attitude toward Aeneas? 
The Helen referenced in this paragraph is Helen of Troy. The video below gives an overview of the origins of the Trojan War, the war in which Aeneas fought. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Venus ask Cupid to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Which of the following most appropriately fills in the blank in the following statement? The Roman gods ________ human affairs. 
Book One Quiz 
Book One concludes by setting up the next book. Watch for a point of view switch as Aeneas takes over as the primary narrator of Book Two. 

Book II

Although the previous book was primarily narrated by a third person narrator, Book Two is primarily narrated by Aeneas as he tells his own story. The video below explains first and third person point of view. Note the differences in the way that Aeneas talks about himself from how he was described in the previous book.  (This annotation contains a video)
The video below comes from the movie "Troy" and depicts the ruse of the Trojan Horse which Aeneas describes in this passage. The Trojan Horse was an idea developed by Ulysses, a Greek leader especially well-known for his cleverness and trickery. (This annotation contains a video)
Aeneas has already informed the reader that Sinon is lying. Which of the following elements of Sinon's story is most clearly meant to manipulate the Trojans into sympathizing with and believing him? 
Explain how Sinon uses language to effectively manipulate the Trojans. 
Aeneas states that the army of Troy was destroyed not by swords and shields, but by pity. This is an example of irony, which is defined in the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Fate is a reoccurring motif throughout "The Aeneid." Take note each time it is mentioned; keep an eye out for trends in order to identify the theme Virgil develops about this subject. 
In The Aeneid, fate is 
A simile is a comparison which employs "like" or "as" to highlight a common element between two dissimilar ideas or elements. Similes allow a writer to describe a character or make a point in a poetic way. For instance, instead of simply saying he is driven, Aeneas compares himself to a wolf in desperate search of food for his starving children. 
According to this simile, what do Androgeos and a man who steps on a serpent have in common? 
In what way does the simile comparing the Greek army to a raging river contribute to the text? 
Some ancient religions recognized household gods- deities who would protect a home and the people within it. It was common practice to build a small altar with idols for a family to worship these gods privately within a home. (This annotation contains an image)
Remember that Aeneas' chief virtue is his pietas- his deep sense of duty or devotion. As you finish Book Two, note the different ways in which this value manifests itself in Aeneas. 
Describe two ways in which Aeneas displays pietas in Book Two. 
Which of the following is the main source of Aeneas' fear? 
The Tiber River is the third longest river in Italy; the city of Rome was founded on its banks. (This annotation contains an image)
Book Two Quiz 

Book III

Signs and omens are used as devices of foreshadowing in The Aeneid. Watch the video below to learn more about foreshadowing and watch for signs and omens as you continue to read. (This annotation contains a video)
Signs and omens are used as devices of foreshadowing in The Aeneid. Watch the video below to learn more about foreshadowing and watch for signs and omens as you continue to read. (This annotation contains a video)
The Trojans interpret the earthquake and the voice as which of the following? 
Describe the role that signs and omens play in the lives of the Trojans. 
The sketch below depicts a Harpy- a creature with the body of a large bird and the face of a woman.  (This annotation contains an image)
In addition to teaching a reader about values which were important to a culture, epics can also shine a light on important cultural customs or rituals. In Ancient Greece and Rome, wrestling was a highly revered sport, and was in fact the first non-running sport to be added to the Olympic Games. 
Which of the following statements about prophecies in The Aeneid is not true? 
"The Aeneid" was written nearly seven centuries after Homer composed "The Odyssey," and Virgil was clearly heavily influenced by Homer. In addition to imitating Homer's writing style, "The Aeneid" includes many plotlines that mirror ones found in "The Odyssey." For example, Odysseus also spent many years at sea following the Trojan War, and had his own encounter with Scylla and Charybdis which is detailed in Book 12 of "The Odyssey." (This annotation contains an image)
Buthrotum is a city which copies Troy- a city of the past. In what sense will Aeneas' city be a city of the future? 
The interaction with Acaemenides helps to characterize Aeneas, Anchises, and the Trojans as 
In the version of Achaemenides' story described in "The Odyssey," the Greek hero Ulysses is presented as an incredibly cunning and loyal man. Why might the Roman Virgil have included this "new chapter" in Ulysses' story in Aeneas' version of events? 
Book Three Quiz 

Book IV

Now that Aeneas is finished telling his story, Book Four puts us back in the present, picking up where Book One left off. 
Book Four is filled with characters trying to convince other characters to act in a particular manner or to see things from their point of view. The manipulation of language to persuade an audience is called rhetoric. The video below explains three rhetorical concepts- ethos, pathos, and logos- which will be helpful in analyzing and understanding this section. (This annotation contains a video)
Anna uses a variety of arguments to convince Dido to break her vow to her former husband and marry Aeneas. The lines highlighted represent which of the following types of argument? 
Using specific references to the text, argue if Virgil's choice to personify Rumor is more or less impactful than a literal description of rumors spreading about Dido and Aeneas would have been. 
The Ancient Romans and Greeks had many myths to explain the origins of aspects of their everyday lives. In this paragraph, "Rumor" is personified and characterized. Note how the god Rumor is similar to the concept of rumor. (This annotation contains an image)
Like the myth about Rumor, "The Aeneid" also helped explain the mythical origins of aspects of Roman culture. "The Aeneid" was written approximately 100 years after Rome had finished a series of three wars against the Carthaginians. Although the Punic Wars were based on real historical events, the following pages provide additional mythical context for the historical feud. 
All of the following are reasons why Aeneas decides to leave Carthage. Which of them can most clearly be classified as an ethos-based argument? 
Dido's appeal to Aeneas to get him to stay in Carthage can best be classified as 
Aeneas answers Dido's plea using many rhetorical strategies: he acknowledges her point, uses hypothetical situations, and draws analogies between his situation and hers. Think of your own experience: when someone is highly emotional, is it easier or harder to persuade him or her to see your side of a situation? 
Which of the following lines spoken by Dido best represents a logos-based argument? 
Ancient Romans believed owls brought the soul of a recently departed person into the Underworld. What does Dido think the omens mean for her? 
In this line, Mercury draws a comparison between the fickle nature of women and the constancy of 
How does Sacchi interpret Dido's final moments? Use details from the painting to support your interpretation. 
The death of Dido has been depicted in over twenty paintings and pieces of artwork. View the painting below by Italian painter Andrea Sacchi and use it to answer the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
Book Four Quiz 
Which of the following effects did Virgil intend to create by ending Book Four with Dido's death? 
Ancient Roman culture approved of suicide in cases in which honor was at stake- for example, it was more righteous for a soldier to die at his own hands than to be taken prisoner by an enemy. But suicide for self-serving purposes was condemned as being dishonorable and selfish, as illustrated through this line about Propserpine, the queen of the Underworld. 

Book V

It can be inferred that Palinurus believes which of the following is the source of the Trojans diversion to Sicily? 
While it might seem odd to a modern audience, many ancient cultures honored the recently deceased with the celebration of athletic competitions. Some historians believe that funeral games may have been the inspiration for the creation of the Olympic Games. (This annotation contains an image)
The funeral games described in Book Five are a large departure from the tone and plot of the previous four books. The funeral games section is an example of comic relief- incidents or sections of a narrative which offset more serious sections. 
Which of the following elements most clearly illustrates the lighthearted tone of this scene? 
Which of the following is Aeneas characterized as in his role as the judge of the games? 
Boxing was a slightly different sport in ancient times than it is today: the boxing gloves used during that time were made of heavy leather and metal studs which could seriously injure an opponent in the ring. This was a necessary accessory since Ancient Roman boxing was oftentimes a fight to the death. (This annotation contains an image)
This sign is a more subtle example of foreshadowing than most of the previous examples of foreshadowing have been up to this point. Does it seem to be a good sign or a bad one? What evidence supports that interpretation? 
What is the effect of including this paragraph after such a comic and lighthearted scene? 
Which of the following is most clearly conveyed through this line? 
Elysium, or the Elysium Fields, is a separate realm of the Underworld reserved for individuals related to or chosen by the gods. Similar to the modern concept of Heaven, Elysium was a realm which offered a blessed afterlife to those who gained entry. 
Once again, the gods demonstrate that they are in control- not humans. What does "The Aeneid" suggest to the reader about the beliefs of everyday Roman citizens? 
Book Five Quiz 
Which of the following is the most accurate statement about Aeneas' journey from Sicily to mainland Italy? 

Book VI

Neither the painting, the poem, nor Dedalus' abandoned artwork truly depict Icarus, but for different reasons. What point do the poem and painting create about Icarus, and how is this different from Dedalus' intent? 
Dedalus was unable to create a work of art depicting his son, but many other artists did. The most famous painting is Breughel's "The Fall of Icarus." Click the link below, read the poem, and view the painting to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
For which of the following qualities did Triton kill Misenus? 
The image below depicts Aeneas finding the golden bough. Thinking about their symbolic associations, why might Virgil have chosen to include doves in this scene? (This annotation contains an image)
In this paragraph, Virgil (the poet) interjects his own voice into the action, asking the gods for permission to reveal the secrets of the Underworld. Virgil is imitating an old characteristic of epics told orally, when a poet would ask the gods to help him to tell the story well. 
Which of the following best describes Virgil's purpose for including the Sybil's explanation of why the souls cannot cross the river? 
Virgil's description of the Underworld is considered to be extremely influential on modern understandings of the afterlife. Virgil was one of the first people to suggest that humans are grouped, punished, and rewarded in the afterlife according to their sins or virtues; "The Aeneid" was written 20 to 30 years before the birth of Jesus Christ and 1300 years before Dante's "Inferno."  (This annotation contains an image)
What inferences can you make about Roman culture and values based on the people Aeneas encounters in the Underworld? 
How is the artist's interpretation of Tartarus similar to Virgil's description of Tartarus? How is it different? 
The painting below depicts Aeneas and the Sybil outside Tartarus. View the painting and use it to answer the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
Click the link below to read a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay about the Lethe River. Use the poem to answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following statements is most accurate about the portrayal of the Lethe in Millay's poem and Virgil's narrative? 
Anchises' comments about Caesar Augustus characterize him as all of the following except 
As mentioned earlier, Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome at the time "The Aeneid" was published. The next portion of Book Six can be considered propaganda- writing aimed at promoting a particular political ideology. Keep an eye on who Virgil praises in this section and what his purpose for doing so might have been. 
When Virgil wrote "The Aeneid," the Roman Empire was the most powerful empire on Earth, and would remain so for nearly 450 more years. But abuses of power would eventually contribute to its downfall, making Virgil's warning especially prophetic. 
Book Six Quiz 
Aeneas and the Sybil exit the Underworld through "the gate of delusive dreams" after hearing Anchises' vision of the future of Rome. Virgil likely intended this detail to be an example of which of the following?